The West Sussex County Council Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) task force, set up look at the future respite centres including Holly Lodge in Horsham has met for the first time.
The task force was set up following the November meeting of HASC which heard that numbers using some residential centres for short breaks for children with complex health needs and disabilities had been falling. There was particular concern for the future of two NHS residential units – the Cherries in Chichester and Holly Lodge in Horsham.
The first meeting of the task force heard from the NHS that the current services in West Sussex are not sustainable and that a new model of service provision needs to be developed that is clinically and financially viable, and improves parents’ choices.
Changes to the criteria for NHS funded short breaks services mean that fewer children are now eligible, and the future of the Cherries and Holly Lodge is under review.
Also at the task force were representatives of the West Sussex Parents’ Forum and parents whose children use the Cherries.
Chairman of the task force meeting Amanda Jupp said: “As a task force we made it clear that we want parents to be involved in finding a solution and to be fully engaged so they understand what is going on.
“We have asked the NHS to work with other organisations and parents to try and find a solution. There may be alternative ways of using these centres to ensure their future, and we will be looking into that at our next meeting in January.”
The task force has also asked to see evidence and outcomes from stakeholder engagement and consultation , and also information on transport arrangements and provision if any services did need to close.
After its final meeting in January, the task force will report back to the next HASC meeting on Wednesday February 20, 2013, with its conclusions and recommendations. The HASC meeting takes place at County Hall, West Street, Chichester, and starts at 10.30am.